The Cache la Poudre canyon and its summit Cameron Pass are located close to Fort Collins and offer a richness in history, scenery, and activity for visitors. In a nutshell, traveling the Cache la Poudre canyon (lovingly known as the Poudre), and translated from French as “the powder’s hiding place”, is a great way to learn, and see, a lot about the uniqueness of Northern Colorado in a relatively short period of time. It is also a great way to see how many locals spend their time in the outdoors in all seasons of the year here.
The Poudre canyon begins right outside of Fort Collins, slightly to the Northwest. It continues approximately 50 miles to the summit at Cameron Pass. The road is accessible at all times of the year, though conditions can get rough in the wintertime.
Traveling the canyon offers visitors abundant scenery. The bustling Cache la Poudre River compliments the rock formations and winds its way (or roars its way during the spring runoff) down the canyon. After traveling approximately 50 miles up the canyon, the views from the top of Cameron Pass (located at approximately 10,000 ft at its summit), are breathtaking. The summit, located just a few miles north of Rocky Mountain National Park, offers amazing views of the park. On the other side, one can see the Rawah Wilderness. Additionally, there are hiking options located near the summit.
The Poudre canyon and Cameron pass are popular for outdoor activities throughout the year. In the winter folks snowshoe, cross-country, and back-country ski.
In the summer the Cache la Poudre river is popular for whitewater rafters, kayakers, and tubers. Fall offers amazing views of the changing colors, and in spring/summer the wildflowers come alive and wildlife is in abundance.
WHAT TO SEE
Because the canyon and Cameron Pass have so much to offer, depending on the amount of time allotted, you can begin (the same day or on a previous day) with a visit to the Museum of Discovery to see more thoroughly some of the local history.
If time allows, you could make a few stops along the Poudre Canyon on the way to Cameron Pass.
Then, once you reach the summit of Cameron, it’d be fun to hike. For example, the Montgomery Pass Trail, which is an easy-moderate trail, about 4 miles round trip.